Margus Tsahkna: G7 statement interim stage on Ukraine's path to NATO

Margus Tsahkna.
Margus Tsahkna. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

The G7 declaration, which Estonia has now joined, gives Ukraine security assurances but not the security guarantee provided by NATO, Estonia's Minister of Foreign Affairs Margus Tsahkna writes.

Last week, we decided that Estonia would join the G7 declaration to help Ukraine defend itself and ensure its free and democratic future. It is more than words on a piece of paper. Long-term and coordinated action will follow the declaration that should lead to Ukraine becoming a NATO member.

Estonia ready to take on long-term obligations in support of Ukraine

Immediately following NATO's July 12 summit in Vilnius, the countries that make up the G7 issued a joint declaration aimed at providing Ukraine with security assurances in different areas, from military aid to economic and political support. It is a telling initiative from the world's seven leading democratic industrial powers.

While Estonia is not part of the G7, other countries were invited to join the declaration. This makes Estonia one of 18 countries (as of August 17) to have joined the declaration. We have sent a clear message to Ukraine and our allies that we will stand behind Ukraine until the victorious end.

The declaration constitutes and agreement to add consistent support for Ukraine in countries' policies. This means that states will have to perform their obligations even after elections and new representatives.

The exact role and assistance provided by countries will be determined in mutual relations with Ukraine, which has a very concrete picture of the help it needs. Therefore, coordination is definitely sensible and creates a longer-term network of cooperation between [the participating] states.

Ukraine will also assume obligations in contributing to the security of partners, ramping up measures to ensure transparency and accountability toward the aid it receives and continuing reforms aimed a democracy, the rule of law and its defense sector. These are vital steps on the road to Ukraine becoming a member of NATO and the EU one day.

Another key part of the declaration treats with the need to hold responsible war criminals and those committing other international crimes. Estonia's efforts toward creating an international tribunal to hold Russia's leaders to account for crimes of war and aggression in Ukraine will continue. It is our firm position that the people with blood on their hands for this war must be punished.

Ukraine must become a NATO member

Estonia has supported Ukraine from the first day of the war. We have contributed militarily, politically and economically, in addition to offering humanitarian aid. We will continue these efforts to help Ukraine win the war and rebuild.

We can take price in probably being Ukraine's greatest backer in terms of aid per capita. Estonia will stand next to Ukraine for as long as it takes as the latter is tirelessly fighting for our security and that of the whole of Europe.

The joint declaration, which Estonia has joined, gives Ukraine security assurances but not the security guarantee provided by NATO. It was 15 years ago Ukraine was promised membership in NATO at the Bucharest summit. Now, when Ukraine is fighting for Europe's security, we must take decisive steps toward making good on the pledge. The wheels were set in motion at the Vilnius summit, and I believe we are on the road toward achieving this great goal.

The declaration by the world's leading industrial nations is no substitute for Ukraine's NATO membership. We are making efforts toward the latter, and I believe the day will come when they will result in a positive outcome. The G7 declaration also dispels talk of war weariness and indifference. On the contrary, we are assured that Ukraine has steadfast allies all working toward the common goal of victory.


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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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